POLICE have issued a warning over a rise in fraud sparked by technological advances.

Extra resources are being made available after the number of financial crimes in both Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire rocketed over the past year.

Offences such as phishing and credit card fraud increased by more than a third in Renfrewshire – and the rise was even more significant in East Renfrewshire, where rates of fraud tripled.

The soaring rate of financial crime in East Renfrewshire is the largest percentage increase of any local authority in Scotland.

Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham, of Police Scotland, said advances in technology pose “an increased vulnerability” when tackling fraud.

He added: “We have seen an increasing trend in online fraud and crimes involving contactless payments.

“With this form of technology, stolen cards can be monetised quickly and easily while online shopping also allows cloned cards and stolen card details to be used fraudulently.”

There were 68 cases of fraud in Renfrewshire in the first quarter of 2018/19 – up from 49 in the same period in 2017/18.

Meanwhile, residents in East Renfrewshire experienced 18 cases of fraud in the first quarter of this year – up from six in the previous year.

Across Scotland as a whole, financial crime has increased by one-third.

Mr Graham added: “We are investing in resources and equipping officers with the necessary skills to tackle this growing area of criminality.

“We are also working ever more closely with our banking colleagues.

“New work in this area is actively preventing fraud through the Banking Protocol, which allows us to protect those who are vulnerable to financial crime.”

Anyone who has been the victim of financial crime can report this to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040.